FINALIST FOR SHEEP INNOVATOR
OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by: Shearwell Data
Plas Farm, Anglesey
Future proofing his business is a key aim for Arwyn Jones who farms in partnership with his mother, Eirwen, on Anglesey. The 364ha farm, a mix of owned and rented land is home of 1,700 Suffolk cross Mule ewes with 700 head of cattle finished each year. Cereals are grown to provide feed and straw for the stock. The farm became a Farming Connect demonstration farm in 2016 which has allowed Arwyn to access advice from a wide range of expects helping him to fine tune his systems.
Since returning to the farm at the age of 22 following his father’s death, Arwyn has implemented a number of changes. About 70 per cent of the grassland has been reseeded, sheep numbers have trebled over eight years and cattle are finished in a shorter period. The sheep and cattle enterprises are carefully integrated to ensure there is always adequate grass available for grazing or silage.
Arwyn favours the Suffolk cross Mules saying they give fast growth rates, are good mothers and are well suited to early lambing which starts on January 20 and is finished by the end of February. Ewes are bought in as he says this is more cost effective than breeding replacements but he has become increasingly selective about their source in recent years to maintain flock health and control lameness.
Lambing follows strict protocols to ensure lambs have the best possible start. They are creep fed from three weeks old and are sold straight from the ewe with a target weight of 21kg deadweight and the aim of having all lambs sold by the end of June. About 90 per cent of the lambs go for the export market and Arwyn is well aware of challenges Brexit may bring, but believes having a thorough understanding of his costs and constantly striving to become more efficient will help to weather the Brexit storm.